Sex assault in tunnel sparks fear for Carmarthen pupils
SAFETY concerns about an underpass used by schoolchildren have been re-ignited following a sex attack.
Parents say they are unhappy that youngsters walking to Ysgol Bro Myrddin have to go through the tunnel at Llangunnor after a 14-year-old girl was the victim of a sex attack just days before pupils returned from their summer break.
The school's head teacher is now questioning whether buses could be made available for all youngsters travelling there.
Carmarthenshire Council says it takes pupils' safety very seriously but said the attack was an isolated incident outside of the school term and the underpass was well lit and safe.
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It says it meets its statutory responsibility for bussing children to school — a service that costs the authority £9m a year.
There have been complaints about the underpass under the A48 — which is on the designated safe route to school – before. But following the attack on the girl in August parents say their children are scared to walk through it.
Appearing before magistrates in Llanelli recently, Daniel Keith James, aged 20, of Heol y Meinciau, Pontyates, pleaded guilty to sexually touching a girl aged 14 and intentionally exposing himself.
The court heard James was sitting on the grass by the underpass exposing himself.
The girl was alarmed and walked away.
As she entered the underpass he came up behind her and pushed her to the floor, the court heard.
She bit his finger and was able to run away and call for help.
James was remanded into custody and will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on October 12.
Bro Myrddin head teacher Dorian Williams said it was his personal opinion that buses should be available to all pupils living in Carmarthen who attend Bro Myrddin or Queen Elizabeth High School.
Children who live more than three miles away from the school are entitled to free school transport.
Pupils living within three miles can pay to travel on a school bus if there are spare seats. Otherwise they have to walk, be taken by their parents or catch a public bus.
Mr Williams said he had been assured by police that they would be monitoring the underpass in the mornings and afternoons.
He said: "I want the council to consider as they have in the past what they can do as a response.
"There are dark days of winter nearly upon us – but it has to be said of course these are dark days financially for councils in Wales and economies of scale have to be made."